T'is the season. Damn the triptofan and full speed ahead -- to the local mall. Is anyone else bothered by the fact that the Christmas shopping rush has become such an ingrained part of American culture that Black Friday now is set to start after dinner on Thursday? Let us give thanks and then spend, spend, spend.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a Dutchman and I love a good bargain as much as anyone. Proof: I just got a wonderful animated Santa and Snowman on a teeter totter and paid the best price of all -- absolutely free -- because my wife's boss wanted to get rid of it and we happened to be in the right place at the right time. A happy accident. But being at the right place at the right time when the store doors open is not accidental, it is by design. And not OUR design -- we just have become so conditioned to this shopper reality that we accept it without question and actually encourage Black Friday to start sooner and sooner every year.
What is my objection? After all, it is a way for businesses to get a jump start on the Holiday Season, and shoppers too. It has become an event, like the Super Bowl, to be enjoyed and shared with loved ones, battling over the grid iron -- er, the display case. It's as American as apple pie.
For me, Black Friday is symptomatic of a deeper issue. Getting that flat screen TV has become as important as carving out an acre of farmable land. Grabbing that latest toy craze is like buying that first potted plant for your brand new house. In other words, getting and possessing things has become a substitute for owning a piece of the American Dream -- and we are being trained to believe it is THE SAME THING. It is not. In fact, we had the American Dream in our hands, the Baby Boomer generation. We had it, and we've lost it, and no number of cheap sweaters or Blue Ray players or I-Pods can bring it back.
But Corporate America encourages us to replace our dreams with goods. The saddest thing is most of those goods were made overseas. No, the saddest thing is that we are willing to make fools of ourselves, interrupt a holiday built on remembering all the good things and giving thanks, just to join the rush.
Myself, I'm waiting for Cyber Monday. And old books.